Positive Energy Districts (PED)

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A Positive Energy District (PED) can, according to the SET-Plan Action no. 3.2, be defined as the following. It should not be confused with Positive Energy Blocks (PEB).

“PEDs require interaction and integration between buildings, the users and the regional energy, mobility and ICT system, as well as an integrative approach including technology, spatial, regulatory, financial, legal, social and economic perspectives (Figure 5). Ideally, PEDs will be developed in an open innovation framework, driven by cities in cooperation with industry and investors, research and citizen organisations.

In this context, a PED is seen as a district with annual net zero energy import7, and net zero CO2 emission working towards an annual local surplus production of renewable energy. The defining aspects, or “building blocks” of PEDs are:A PED is embedded in an urban and regional energy system, preferably driven by renewable energy, in order to provide optimised security and flexibility of supply.

  • A PED is based on a high level of energy efficiency, in order to keep annual local energy consumption lower than the amount of locally produced renewable energy.
  • Within the regional energy system, a PED enables the use of renewable energy by offering optimised flexibility and in managing consumption and storage capacities on demand. Active management will allow for balancing and optimisation, peak shaving, load shifting, demand response and reduced curtailment of RES, and district-level self- consumption of electricity and thermal energy
  • A PED couples built environment, sustainable production and consumption, and mobility to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions and to create added value and incentives for the consumer. E.g., PEDs facilitate increased EV charging capability within the district and ensure that the impact of EVs on the distribution will be minimised by using local generation where possible.
  • A PED makes optimal use of elements such as advanced materials, local RES and other low carbon energy sources (e.g. waste heat from industry and service sector, such as data centres), local storage, smart energy grids, demand-response, cutting edge energy management (electricity, heating and cooling), user interaction/involvement and ICT.
  • PED should offer affordable living for the inhabitants.

PEDs will be implemented in newly built and retrofitted districts or districts with a mix of both.”

+CityxChange has expanded upon this definition in a recent paper by Dirk Ahlers and Annemie Wyckmans of +CxC with Han Vandevyvere, titled The Sense and Non-Sense of PEDs—Feeding Back Practical Experiences of Positive Energy District Demonstrators into the European PED Framework Definition Development Process. The article contributes an operational definition of PEDs and discusses the practicalities of PED implementation. It further identifies 4 subtypes that respond to varying constraints regarding the energy balance of the PED and identifies 3 boundary conditions under which the definition can hold.

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